An evergreen, bushy shrub of stiff habit, sometimes 20 or more ft high. Leaves obovate, blunt or rounded at the apex, tapering at the base to a short stalk, 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, leathery and glabrous, dark lustrous green, witn a pale midrib. Flowers about 1 in. across, fragrant, produced at the end of the shoot in clusters 2 or 3 in. across, the petals broadly oblong, creamy white, becoming yellowish with age. Fruit a pear-shaped capsule. Bot. Mag., t. 1396.
Native of Japan, the Ryukyus, Formosa, Korea, and China; first introduced to Kew in 1804. This shrub is not strictly hardy, and at Kew requires wall protection. In the south-western counties and at Castlewellan in Co. Down it succeeds admirably unprotected, being there a densely furnished, healthy-looking evergreen. In the gardens of the south of France, Italy, Dalmatia, etc., it is one of the commonest of evergreens, producing its flowers from April onwards. There are some fine examples on the isle of Lokrum, near Dubrovnik, in Dalmatia, picturesque spreading bushes 20 to 25 ft high. The flowers of P. tobira have a scent like orange blossom.
cv. ‘Variegatum’. – leaves margined with white.